The federal deficit is rising, far beyond the $10 billion projected in the Liberal's election platform. The stated purpose of running $130 billion of deficits over five years is to stimulate the Canadian economy, whose prospects for growth are deteriorating.
This is the best educated generation in this country's history. They have done all the right things. They've gone to school. They got good marks, did volunteer work to fill out their resumes and in return students and their families are drowning in sky-rocketing debt. And yet, it seems the best our economy can offer them is precarious work marked by contract jobs, low wages, uncertain shifts and no benefits.
Until we open up our minds about what "talent" and "best and brightest" should really mean in the context of the labour market, we are leaving many skilled people out of the innovation agenda. Right now we have an exclusive mindset when it comes to talent, linking it too much to spending a long time in higher education.
These two advanced manufacturing sectors directly employ more than 200,000 Canadians in good jobs that form the backbone of Canada's middle class. Even more are employed in the spinoffs from these two sectors -- both the suppliers to auto and aerospace, and the spending habits of its well-paid workers.
According to Tuesday's budget, the Liberals plan to run a $29.4-billion deficit for the fiscal year with no balanced budget planned until at least 2020-2021. The spending is in efforts to amp investment in infrastructure and boost the oil-weary economy.
Recently, it seems the Canadian economic outlook is far from ideal. But what does it mean for the country's biggest businesses? What are companies focused on in 2016 and beyond? What strategies are they employing to set up their organizations for long-term success, and how will these new priorities impact Canada's workforce?
We may share the same continent and many of the same customs and attitudes, but at the same time there's no denying there are significant differences between Canada and the U.S. These should be viewed as strengths, not weaknesses or obstacles to overcome.
Ever since Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced Monday that the federal deficit would top $18.4 billion, all the familiar voices of right wing commentators, Bay Street analysts and Conservative politicians have made their all-too predictable calls for budget cuts and curtailed spending. They couldn't be more wrong. Now, in fact, is the time for some strategic spending to get the economy going, even if it means increasing the federal deficit when the budget is handed down on March 22.
This generation is among the most talented, educated and globally connected ever. While some of the experiences and expectations of these young people are unique to their cohort, they have much in common with Canadian workers of all ages and backgrounds: they are looking for a way to make a difference -- be it at the local, national, or global level. The federal public service must innovate to attract more young people. We need less rigid hierarchies, fewer layers of bureaucracy, more open and transparent decision making, a culture of intelligent risk taking, more opportunity for continuous learning, and greater mobility in and out of government.
Crises can make us restless, inquisitive, and ready for innovative revolution. With history as a guide, we can expect some noteworthy entrepreneurial trendsetters to emerge from the current crisis -- people who refuse to be intimidated and instead think creatively about making the best of a downturn.
On its surface, the suburban Ontario constituency of London West is like so many ridings in the province. Dotted with sprawling established neighbourhoods, the community's residents personify Protestant Ontario: reserved, small-c conservative and hardworking. But the economic landscape in London West has changed significantly since the Harper Conservatives took power almost a decade ago. With economic fears front and centre and conventional political wisdom out the window, this formerly unremarkable riding has quickly become a microcosm for the October 19 federal election
As a socialist, I was excited for this election as I hoped the NDP would stretch its wings and become a vocal proponent for the poor, the under-housed, the underemployed, etc.; that they would put front and centre the issues that carry the greatest ethical and moral weight for Canada's society. But no. The party of the little man -- Tommy Douglas's party of mice refusing to be led by cats -- is now courting middle-income Canadians. For me the crisis facing Canadians is not one of an attack on the middle class.
One of the most important steps the Canadian government can take to kickstart the economy is a large-scale program directed at renewing our national infrastructure. It will help drive job creation while generating about $1.60 of GDP for every $1 spent. And it will transform the present value of low interest rates into long-term capital assets underpinning greater Canadian productivity.
The worst kept secret regarding the economy was made official today -- Canada is in a recession. There is nothing technical about it; the definition of a recession is relatively straightforward: two consecutive quarters with negative economic growth. The fact that this definition might not be convenient for a sitting government's, which holds itself out as brilliant economic managers, political fortunes is irrelevant. By any objective standard, the Canadian economy is under-performing.
The Greek failure to successfully address tax evasion should prove instructive to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who in 2014 pledged to crack down on tax cheats. Greek measures to tackle evasion with enforcement have resulted in only small improvements. An enforcement only strategy should not be the model Ontario follows for tackling the underground economy. Relying on enforcement and punishment squeezes legitimate businesses who are already faced with high compliance costs and tax and regulatory burdens.
Demonstrating the Green Party's commitment to principled, thoughtful politics, each reason highlights a specific, deep-rooted problem and provides a long-term viable solution. The ultimate goal: build a better Canada for all Canadians, a Canada with a sustainable future grounded in responsible environmental stewardship, social justice and fiscal responsibility.